Two volunteers of Mizo Zirlai Pawl were seriously injured when the Assam police and para military force deployed by Hailakandi district administration opened fire at them at Zophai paddy field near Bairabi town along Assam- Mizoram border earlier on Saturday.
Sources said that the students, who were camped at Zophai paddy field tried to reconstruct a rest shed which was earlier dismantled by the Assam Police.
“The volunteers were shot at when they tried to reconstruct the shed before noon, Ricky Lalchhandama, secretary of the MZP and another volunteer PC Ramdinsanga were shot in the leg, they are now being treated at Bairabi hospital,” sources said.
The Mizo Zirlai Pawl claimed that the paddy field, once belonged to the first chief minister of Mizoram Ch Chhunga is well within the boundary of Mizoram and built a rest shed for farmers in the area last month which was destroyed by the Assam police.
About 100 volunteers of the student body on March 8 tried rebuilding the shed but were stopped by the Assam police.
Another attempt to build the rest shed was made earlier today, the Assam Police deployed there fired upon the student volunteers. The Assam Police then lathi-charged the students and onlookers
“The students were fired upon and two of them were hit, the Assam Police torched one two wheeler and a taxi which were parked at the spot. The Assam Police then lathi-charged the students and onlookers, one female journalist working with Assam’s TV18 also suffered injuries,” a source from Bairabi said.
Lalrothangi, the late wife of the first chief minister of Mizoram Ch Chhunga donated a paddy field to the MZP and the student body built a rest shed for farmers working nearby.
The construction work was completed on Feb 27, 2018 with the help of villagers from the border town of Bairabi in Kolasib district.
However the rest house was allegedly demolished by the Assam Police and Forest department officials on the same night.
The inner line forest reserve, drafted by the British Rajs is the boundary between Assam and Mizoram, since Mizoram gained union territory status, Assam government was entrusted to keep vigil.
The forest reserve, which served as a boundary has been encroached time and again by the Assam forest officials, making claims that the reserve inner line belonged to Assam, locals claimed.
As a result of the shooting, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl volunteers camped at Zophai has withdrawn and fled to Bairabi. Few volunteers have left for capital Aizawl with the injured, L Ramdinliana Renthlei, president of the MZP and others have opted to stay at Bhairabi and vowed that a rest shed would be built.
With tensions mounting, and fearing backlash non-tribal traders and businessmen have closed their establishment across the.
Sources further said that miscreants attacked some vehicles with Assam registration.
The loading of PDS rice in train at Bhairabi, which were carried out by workers were halted after porters fled from the spot fearing for their lives.
Border dispute had been a long-standing problem between Assam and Mizoram states since Mizoram, earlier one of the hill districts of Assam was elevated to union territory in 1972.
The border dispute in early 1994 almost escalated into an armed encounter between the police personnel of the two neighbouring states and the intervention from the centre managed to evade armed conflict.